Weighing on Me

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Howdy, folks,

Today I’m going to change gears a little bit. My topic is about body self-image and body dysmorphic disorder.

I have very poor self-esteem as far as my body image goes. For some background, I weighed between 110-120 pounds for the majority of my teenage and adult life. I’m a small girl, so this has always been average for me and my personal age and height. Ever since I developed depression and anxiety, and was put on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety, I’ve gained a lot of weight. You might be aware that SSRI’s and anti-psychotic medications are known to be weight-gaining so this is not uncommon. For someone that has always been small, though, this has been very hard for me to overcome/accept. I weighed myself this week and the number scared and depressed me. I’m extremely upset, folks.

I tell you all this to tell you that it is hard to live with the two sides of depression and anxiety. On the one hand, you want to feel better and, along with therapy, medication helps you feel better. But then you have the side-effects from the medication; one of them certainly being weight-gain. What’s the toss-up? Sometimes side-effects just makes you feel more depressed, and then you’re not confident at all.

Sometimes that translates into my writing. If I’m “this fat and ugly,” then I probably really am “this bad” of a writer.

Get what I’m saying?

Well, the good news is that I’m trying to be positive and not think that way.

I’m going to speak with my psych(ologist) about my body-image problems on Wednesday; I’m hoping he’ll have some grains of wisdom for me, or at least just be a lending ear. Maybe he’ll have some advice.

I’ve been talking with M (my husband), too, and he’s going to help me with a new exercise and diet regimen. Since I saw that new number on the scale, I’m more determined than ever to lose weight. I’m cutting out 90% of my alcohol intake, drinking more water daily, exercising daily for 30 minutes, and eating less carbs and more veggies and good grains. (No more of my beloved messy-but-oh-so-yummy veggie burger wraps or tator-tot poutine at the pub down the street! LE SIGH!)

This is my plan and I am excited to start it.

If any of you are feeling down about yourselves, this is something that I have been telling myself: If you don’t like something about yourself, you have the power to change it. Whether that’s weight problems, seeking help for depression, or reaching out for extra help because you’re failing math: you can change what you don’t like.

I know it sounds simple and in reality, it can be hard, but I encourage you to try. You can do it. We can do it.

Stay cool, kids.

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Forty-Five Minutes

Forty-Five Minutes
JCD KERWIN

One, two, three a.m. and I’m staring, blinking, glaring at the ceiling like I’ve got a grudge against the shadows. Tossing and turning makes the stitch in my side itch. I have to lie straight to keep myself from screaming but I can’t dream think the right way without shoving pillows over my face.

Must refuse to move
until
the pain stops and
my heartbeats
d
r
o
p.

[Maybe if
I crush these tabs,
they’ll last a little longer,
be a little stronger;
make me
a little better at
not being me.]

The guy behind the desk says I’m supposed to believe in myself. I sink farther into the couch and wonder why upholstery’s always more plush in small rooms even though you’re never in the mood to sit still.

(I tell him I like the paintings of the Ming Dynasty Treasure Ships. They came with the office, he says. None of them ever know where the pictures come from.)

It all goes back
to my childhood:
where my family
went did wrong.

Separate yourself.
Cut yourself off
from everything
that hurts you.

He says.

Easier said
than done.

I say.

And the other guy throws pills at me, changing his mind with each visit. He can’t decide what makes
me messed up
inside.

Neither can I.

[Which is why I
line up orange bottles
in Chess lines,
like they’re pawns and I
am running from
the pugilist glove
that will crush me if
I don’t keep ahead of
the other me’s
next move.]

I am unimpressed with the depression of my facial expression. It gets quite old. But I don’t know how to climb out from puddles I rained out all alone.

He tells me plenty of people have sat where I sat, feeling hopeless, but they dug out, just like I will. I ask when that will be…

Right now I’m spelunking in the dark.

(October 2015)

Mumblestumble

Sometimes it’s hard to be me.

Mumblestumble
JCD Kerwin

The journal page reflects the white like car high beams. The bottle grins at me, beckoning that I take another sip. Just one more and you’ll go numb, it says.

Write it down. Keep a journal, he says. Breathe. Remember “the timeline.” Step back. Don’t forget your “worry time.” You’re you, remember? You’ve got to stop doubting yourself. Stop thinking everyone’s out to get you; stop judging…And whatever bullshit he’s told me this week.

I bite the pen and hope the ink runs down my throat.

These orange bottles line up like chess pieces. Their names are still a mystery to my simple tongue. I spin each bottle so I can’t see the labels. As if that somehow hides the fact I’m insane. These pawns are out to get me.

My heart pounds too hard. I’m told its panic attacks. I thought it was hip-hop, rock and roll; thought it was palpitations from the headphones over my ears. Breathe; remember to breathe, he says.

I can’t breathe in the day. I can’t breathe the same air as the people I knock shoulders with on the street. I just gasp for air like I’ve been plucked from a fishbowl. I’m drowning in humanity.

My existentialism is showing. Let me tuck in my brain.

You can catch me high on life one minute and drowning in a puddle of my own creation the next. I float up and down like a hot air balloon. The more intelligent a person, the more depressed they are, he says. I must be Neil deGrasse Tyson. Write it down.

In the middle of the night I’m alone. In the middle of the night, I stare at the wall and listen to monsters try to convince me to take the leap. I scream but it comes out silent. It’s like being trapped in a box at the bottom of the ocean. Hello to the hammerheads.

I spin a couple pill bottles. The tabs rattle and I pop the tops. Dose One should happen at dinner time….Fuck that.

(August 2015)